Days 15 - 17 - Saturday May 12 through Monday May 14
Saturday morning came very quick this time around, as I woke up at 9:30 in order to have time for Devyn and I to have breakfast before practice. I was a little more sore then I had been in the previous days, as it had been a while since I started a game and it kind of shocks the body when you get back in there. It was good soreness though, and the team and I were feeling great after a couple huge wins. With two games left in the preliminary round, we basically needed one more win to lock in our trip to the medal round.
|Bachman took a site seeing tour of Helsinki during an off-day. Photo by Richard Bachman. |
Practice was quick and more of a stretch than anything else, and with a big, important game vs. host Finland, that was all we needed. After practice, it was back to the hotel to meet up with the girls and enjoy Helsinki a little bit. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a bad for day for the girls to be here, because it poured rain for a long time. I took advantage of the rainy weather though and napped for about an hour. After my nap, I needed to get some food in me, so Devyn and I went wandering around and ended up stopping at a place thqt had all types of food. The most interesting part was their version of an American dinner, which consisted of tomato soup, steak and cherry pie... we thought that was funny. Anyway, dinner was good and we walked around the cobblestone streets for a little while before calling it a night.
Sunday was Mothers Day, as well as a day everyone had been looking forward to... it was the day we got to face Finland in their home country and in front of a sold-out arena. It is these types of games that make being away from home for over three weeks worthwhile. Also, it was a chance for me to see Kari (Lehtonen) play live in his country. The game started out intensely, with lots of fast skating and big hits, and the crowd was out of control, as they chanted 'Suomi' the whole first period. At times, it was hard to hear simple conversation on the bench, it such a good atmosphere. The first period was great for my guys and we were able to get a goal off a turnover late in the period to make it 1-0. The second period was once again really good for our guys, and with another even-strength goal and a power play goal, we left the second with a 3-0 lead and a very quiet crowd. The third was more of the same great game we were playing, and midway through the period, we scored two more goals. We were all really excited, but then it was scary for a while though as Lehtonen got hit into his net and had to leave the game with an injury. I texted with him after the game, and he is going to be just fine, so no worries there, anyone!! It was a huge win and a great stretch of three games in 4 nights, and we have clinched our spot in the medal round!
PHOTO GALLERY: Bachman shares site seeing pictures from Helsinki
After the game, I was able to talk with my mom for a little while, which was obviously very nice on Mothers Day! Then a bunch of people on the team went out for a big dinner, which was a great chance to meet all the guests who flew in, and let loose a little!
The next morning was a perfect chance to sleep in, and I made it to about 10 a.m. before being too hungry to sleep any longer. After breakfast, and with nothing scheduled, my fiancé and I decided it was a great day to explore the city. With the sun shinning, we started by checking out a bunch of the clothing stores on the way towards the water. While heading that way, we stopped at a store called Stockmans, which is like a very large Nordstrom's... and when I say large, I am not joking either!! It was eight stories high, and had anything and everything you can think of buying, plus a grocery store in the basement. The place was crazy!
Once down by the water, we enjoyed an amazing area with very unique architecture and a great little market. We found a ferry tour to see of Helsinki, which was an hour-and-a-half and took us all through the historic islands that surround Helsinki, plus offered a great landscape of the city from the waters view. It was a really fun tour, we enjoyed it a lot. The city itself is very clean and very friendly, and we are excited to see even more in the days to come.
Up next will be our last preliminary round game vs. Switzerland before medal rounds start...